News Release

Hamas Victory

EDWARD L. PECK
EUGENE BIRD
Peck and Bird are on a delegation observing the Palestinian election. Peck is a former U.S. chief of mission to Iraq and was deputy director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism in the Reagan administration. He said today: “Many are talking about Hamas’ victory without mentioning Israel. [Israeli leader] Olmert’s recent speech, which basically said Israel would do whatever it wanted, had a real impact. … Bush complained about presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon during their election; well, the Israeli presence is far more here. Still the Palestinians held this election, and now Bush is going to reject what happens? That’s not democracy.”

President of the Council for the National Interest, Bird said today: “This was an election of anger at the failure of Oslo to deliver. The U.S. and Israel refused to deal with Arafat. This has led to the election of Hamas. Still, we met with Hamas leader Mahmood Zahar and he has offered a truce if Israel goes to the green line, but that’s not going to happen given the current U.S. policies.”
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ROBERT DREYFUSS
Author of the recent book Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, Dreyfuss said today: “Hamas got its start after the 1967 War. Egyptian President Nasser had kept the Islamist forces down, but Israel fostered and encouraged their growth during the 1970s and ’80s as a way to undermine the Palestinian nationalists and leftists.”
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JILLIAN SCHWEDLER
Author of the book Faith in Moderation: Islamist Parties in Jordan and Yemen, Schwedler is assistant professor in the department of government and politics at the University of Maryland. She is author of a forthcoming book on the inclusion of Islamist parties in pluralist elections.
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SAMAR ASSAD
Assad is executive director of the Palestine Center in Washington. She said today: “The ruling Fatah party was unable to deliver on both a domestic and international level. But its failure on the international level is really the responsibility of the U.S. and Israel. Hamas will be forced to deal with Israel’s policies of imposing facts on the ground — like the wall, like settlement expansion, like taking Jerusalem off any final status talks, like its refusal to deal with the right of return for refugees. Hamas may have success with issues like domestic corruption, but how will it deal with Israel’s occupation, its violation of international law and outright unilateralism?”
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ALI ABUNIMAH
Founder of ElectronicIntifada.net, Abunimah said today: “This pulls the rug out from under the ‘peace process’ industry. All the foreign funders and such needed Fatah to keep that going. The U.S. and the Europeans needed the rhetoric about ‘reform’ — whereby the Palestinians keep having to jump through hoops — to distract from Israel’s solidification of its occupation. Palestinian voters have firmly turned attention back to that central issue.”
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CLIFF KINDY
In response to Hamas’ showing in the Palestinian election, President Bush said: “A political party, in order to be viable, is one that professes peace, in my judgment, in order that it will keep the peace.”

Kindy, who is with the Christian Peacemaker Teams, which have four members currently held hostage in Iraq, said today: “I understand this as a new presidential initiative, setting the standard that all parties in and out of power will reject violence as the way to deal with conflict. It would be noble to see the U.S. take that kind of leadership.”

Kindy and others are carrying out a series of processions each day until Sunday in Washington, D.C., “starting at key institutions which bear responsibility for war-making and ending with a brief prayer service at the White House.” Kindy has spent five months each of the last three years in Iraq; he has also spent extensive time in Gaza and Hebron in the West Bank, where the Christian Peacemaker Teams maintain a presence.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167